Winning Isnít Everything Ö Or Is It?

Winning is an important goal. Itís a major part of the game, but itís not the only part, and it should not come at the expense of the other parts. Make sure that your child's coach pays equal attention to:

ē Equal or meaningful playing time - One of the most important things you want to hear from the coach is whether he or she will give all the children equal playing time. This should be the golden rule for any team that enrolls children in sixth grade or younger. After sixth grade, coaches can begin using players for different lengths of time, but every player should have "minimum meaningful minutes" in each game. If your coach does not cleave to the doctrine of equal time or minimum meaningful minutes, get your child a new coach. And make sure to tell the league officials. Often, the coaches are only following the lead of the administrators.

ē Clear boundaries - Also ask your coach if he or she puts limits on the length of the season, the amount of practice time, the number of post-season playoffs and tournaments. Ask if itís important that children have other things in their lives besides sports. These answers will speak volumes about the coachís perspective.

ē Individualized goals - Look for signs that the coach will embrace the mistakes of the youngsters. Does he or she set up goals for individual players, benchmarks that have nothing to do with whether the team wins and everything to do with personal success?

The best coaches will bring humor, perspective, some knowledge and a lot of fun to the games your children play.

Continue to: Parent-Coach Interaction

Return to: What Makes†a Great Coach? A Parents' Primer

Tom Moroney, author of this Parent's Primer, is co-author, along with Bob Bigelow and Linda Hall, of Just Let The Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults from Ruining Your Childís Fun and Success in Youth Sports, Health Communications Inc., 2001.

From United Parenting Publications, April 2002.